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Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-S.C., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington (Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP)

House Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows urged Congress not to attach Hurricane Harvey funding to a debt-ceiling increase, calling it a "terrible idea" that would conflate "two very different issues," per The Washington Post. "The Harvey relief would pass on its own, and to use that as a vehicle to get people to vote for a debt ceiling is not appropriate," Meadows said.

  • Timing: Congress has yet to announce how it plans to respond to Harvey. Meanwhile, Texas lawmakers are ramping up pressure for swift action on an aid package that was needed yesterday. At the same time, the deadline to raise the debt-ceiling is rapidly approaching at the end of September.
  • Why it matters: Meadows' warning reveals that passing a bill will still be difficult, despite administration assurances that the debt-limit will be raised by the end of September and the hurricane making government funding easier.
  • Go deeper: What will happen if the government fails to raise the debt ceiling.

Go deeper

22 mins ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Health

Why we need to know COVID's origins

The WHO's headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Geopolitical tensions are foiling efforts to get to the bottom of how COVID-19 originated.

Why it matters: Insights into how COVID-19 began can help us prevent future pandemics — especially if it involved any kind of leak or accident at a virology lab.